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Section 20 query

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Our service charge is due, as normal, on the 1st January but this year has a little bonus in the demand letter in the form of a request for £1750 towards a new lift!

An initial section 20 notice was received last week stating that there would need to be corrective work to the lift, but this appears now to have changed to a complete renewal of a pair of 18 year old lifts.

Am I right in thinking that since we have only received an initial section 20 notice outlining the works required and no subsequent s20 notice showing the tenders for the work, that the landlord is premature in demanding the additional levy for these repairs?

Also, I understand that an S20 demand can only be made for “essential repairs”. If so, what justification can I demand from the landlord in order to establish that a total replacement of the lift is “essential” rather than repairs to the ones that are there?

Of course sooner or later the lifts will need replacing, but is it reasonable to expect the current leaseholders to pay for the entire renewal, given that this will create an asset that will have a 20 year lifetime? Shouldn’t the landlord be spreading such long-term costs over a good proportion of the lifetime of that asset and charge that to the current leaseholders accordingly?

Thanks for your help.


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